The NCAA responded to the filing of a lawsuit by a former North Carolina football player, saying in a statement released Wednesday that it stands by its actions to declare Michael McAdoo permanently ineligible as a result of academic misconduct.
A former UNC defensive lineman barred from playing last season, McAdoo filed a lawsuit in Durham Superior Court against the university and the NCAA on Friday, seeking to restore his eligibility and a chance to return to the field for the Tar Heels this fall.
A hearing has been set for July 15.
Wednesday, the NCAA responded to McAdoos suit in an emailed statement released by associate director of public and media relations Christopher Radford:
We are aware of the litigation. Academic integrity is critically important to intercollegiate athletics and something that is expected from all student-athletes. As a result, the NCAA plans to vigorously defend the process by which penalties related to academic misconduct are ultimately determined by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee, comprised of representatives from member institutions.
McAdoo is one of seven Tar Heels who missed the entire 2010 season as a result of an NCAA investigation into academic misconduct and improper benefits received by UNC players. The NCAAs Notice of Allegations, delivered to UNC last month, cited nine major alleged violations. A hearing for UNC officials to address the allegations has been scheduled for October.
McAdoos suit seeks unspecified damages against UNC and the NCAA and names UNC chancellor Holden Thorp as a defendant. The suit argues that the NCAA ruled McAdoo permanently ineligible based on inaccurate information. According to the suit, the NCAA did not take into account a university report to the NCAA that said UNC was confident that McAdoo was not aware that the assistance he received from university tutor Jennifer Wiley was improper.
(The university Honor Court determined that McAdoo had received improper assistance with citations and a works cited list for an African studies paper and had ruled that he was eligible to play the 2011 season following his suspension for the spring semester of this year, according to the suit.)
McAdoo is also seeking an injunction that would allow him to play in what would be his senior season.
Lawyer Bob Orr, who worked with UNC and NCAA to get a permanent ban on UNC fullback Devon Ramsay last year rescinded, called the NCAAs response to McAdoos lawsuit predictable. Orr also represented UNC defensive lineman Quinton Coples when NCAA investigators questioned his trip to Washington, D.C. in May for an NFL draft party held by former UNC defensive tackle Marvin Austin. The NCAA told UNC last week that Coples did not commit any violations in connection with the party.
Its predictable, but In the long run I dont think the NCAA really wants the public to see exactly how their process ignores the basic rights of these young students, Orr said in an email Wednesday. I hope the media and frankly, our elected officials in North Carolina and Washington start to closely examine how the system works, or doesnt work. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being made off the hard work and talent of these young people by the NCAA, member institutions and others. Yet, these young student/athletes, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, are hammered by the NCAA system.
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